Nicole Basham

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Hello:

One of our clients is a service area home services company that is trying to get in more local search traffic and leads. We are recommending they move listings from employee homes to locations that are compliant with Google's criteria to avoid suspension.

One question that has come up as they search for potential locations is: Do storage facilities count as "virtual offices"? I'm having a hard time finding very specific guidelines about what can be an office and what can't apart from use cases that aren't relevant, and I know in some cases houses can be used for a GMB listing for solopreneurs who don't have a physical location. In other communication from Google, I do understand that to be "official", Google prefers to have a location with signage, although that is not necessarily something you would need for a service area business...

Thanks in advance for any resources or advice you can provide to help provide further "official" guidance from Google that can help guide the creation of new listings and bring existing listings into compliance. Also, open to feedback of the "if it's 'working', why are you messing with it?" variety.
 

chadkimball

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are the "employees" literal W2 employees or are they subcontractors? If they are legally not employees, you may be able to bring their home address locations into compliance.

storage facilities are just as much against google's guidelines as a virtual office. they will work to get more traffic though, but they wont be compliant.
 

Nicole Basham

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are the "employees" literal W2 employees or are they subcontractors? If they are legally not employees, you may be able to bring their home address locations into compliance.

storage facilities are just as much against google's guidelines as a virtual office. they will work to get more traffic though, but they wont be compliant.

We're recommending that the company move any listings away from homes, as these seem problematic as well. How have you seen that you can bring home locations into compliance? The only examples I've seen are for plumbers who own their own business who work out of their home. As a larger company, I didn't think this would fly.

It pretty much goes back to Colan's point that pure SABs would only be able to have one GMB to be fully in compliance. That said, in larger metros, these types of larger, multi-service businesses that serve a very large geographic area are at a very clear disadvantage to mom-and-pop type businesses, which is very unfortunate when this has become their biggest source of new customers.
 

chadkimball

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We're recommending that the company move any listings away from homes, as these seem problematic as well. How have you seen that you can bring home locations into compliance? The only examples I've seen are for plumbers who own their own business who work out of their home. As a larger company, I didn't think this would fly.

The way to bring them into compliance, is to make them official "locations" of the big brand, put their addresses on the corp website as "Locations" with their own phone number, hours, a photo of the manager of that particular branch, etc.

It pretty much goes back to Colan's point that pure SABs would only be able to have one GMB to be fully in compliance. That said, in larger metros, these types of larger, multi-service businesses that serve a very large geographic area are at a very clear disadvantage to mom-and-pop type businesses, which is very unfortunate when this has become their biggest source of new customers.

There are ways around this but you have to either go with a version of my idea above, or go against google TOS
 
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